War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0174 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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artillery limbered to the rear; I do not know by whose orders. One section of what I supposed to be Captain Chapman's battery moved off to my right and down the Pontotoc road. The troops at this time all seemed to be falling back. I fell back to the right of the Guntown road, in order to protect this section of artillery. I formed my regiment about sixty yards to the right of the Guntown road and in rear of the Pontotoc road and my right resting on the latter. The enemy were then coming in line by Brice's house, skirmishers in advance, in superior numbers to mine. All of the rest of our troops had fallen back, from all that I could see. I there gave the enemy two or three rounds. I again fell back some sixty yards and formed, my right resting some 100 yards in rear of the Pontotoc road. I fired probably a couple of rounds, and I again fell back some eighty or ninety yards and was in the act of forming again my sixth line, when Captain Johnson said to me, "If we remain here five minutes longer we are all gone up. " I then moved by the left flank behind a rail fence, thickly interspersed with vines, bushes, &c., in the nearest direction to the Ripley road, crossing the Tishomingo, WEST of the bridge. I fell back within a quarter of a mile of Ames'. I there struck the main column as it was falling back. I moved down to the road and there saw General Sturgis, Colonel McMillen, and Colonel Wilkin. I here received orders from Colonel Wilkin to form on the left of the Ninth Minnesota, it forming east of the road, its right resting on the road. We held this new position until we were ordered to fall back. We fell back from 300 to 500 yards, and formed again to the WEST of the road immediately in the edge of the timber, there being an open field in our fro our front in the open field were very heavily pressed. The colored troops fell back to our rear. We repulsed the enemy, and held this position some fifteen minutes. It was then after sundown. At the time I saw General Sturgis, Colonel McMillen, and Colonel Wilkin together at the white house, Colonel McMillen told Colonel Wilkin to hold the rear until I got dusk, and he would go ahead and reorganize and form a line on a chosen position to protect us. By order of Colonel Wilkin we then moved to the Hatchie Swamp. Finding the road blockaded with artillery, ambulances, and wagons stuck in the mud, and receiving no orders in regard to the disposition of the train, we remained here until between 12 and 1 o'clock at night, when the artillery, ambulances, and train were abandoned, by whose orders I know not. Colonel Wilkin heard of a ridge road, a better and shorter road to Ripley, and we started in on it about 800 yards to other side of the Hatchie Swamp. It was a dark road and the night was dark, and Colonel Wilkin was fearful of getting lost, so we returned to the other. We proceeded to Ripley, arriving at Ripley at 7. 30 or 8 o'clock the next morning. One battalion of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry covered our retreat for three miles before we got to Ripley, and also until we arrived at Ripley. We remained in Ripley a short time, trying to find General Sturgis or Colonel McMillen or some of their staff for the purpose of getting orders, but none of them were there. We took, on leaving Ripley, the right-hand road, which led in the direction of La Grange, while the rest of the infantry and cavalry had taken the left-hand road, leading through Salem. As we were leaving Ripley there were two regiments of colored troops formed in line on our left. A portion of the cavalry (I think the Fourth Iowa) passed us, saying that we must look out for ourselves, that they could not protect the rear any longer, as they were out of ammunition. We marched that day and evening until 11 o'clock, and we then bivouacked until morning. During that night the FIFTY- fifth U. S. Colored Troops, under Captain Reeve, came up and joined us. From there to Collierville we came across the country roads, passing Davis' Mills, and had fighting more or less all the time, arriving at Collierville about 9 or 10 o'clock on the morning of the 13th. We remained there until noon.

Question. Were there any rebel forces at Ripley when you passed through?

Answer. There were. They were fighting with our cavalry. Colonel Wilkin proposed to stop there, reorganize, and fight them, but could get no orders, and so we went on. We heard at Collierville that the rebel General Buford and his staff had been in that town that morning. When the cars met us, two or three miles this side of Collierville, we were then fighting with the rebel cavalry.

Question. How many rounds of ammunition did the troops in your column have when they arrived at Ripley on the retreat?

Answer. I would say six or eight rounds. When Captain Reeve came up with the FIFTY-fifth U. S. Colored Troops his men had from forty to FIFTY rounds. Some of the troops threw away a good many cartridge- boxes, and my men picked them up.

Question. What, in your opinion, was the cause of the disaster at Brice's Cross-Roads?